Nature Friday ~ July 7, 2023

Hiya everyone, it’s me, Elsa welcoming you to another Nature Friday, hosted by our pals Rosy and Sunny from Adventures of the LLB Gang. Before I share this week’s pics, Mom and I want to thank everyone for all their kind messages, cards and mementos that have come from all over the world. To say we’re touched is an understatement. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We so grateful for your kind support.

Elsa: Well, let me start. Oh Mom, Moom, MOOOMMMM!!!

The Mom: What Ninja, I’m right here.

Elsa: Whew, I was afraid I was all alone. I’m not used to flying solo yet so I get nervous when I can’t see you right next to me. Will this feeling ever go away?

The Mom: Oh sweetie, yes, it will get better, trust me. It just takes time. I know you miss your brother, I do too, but together we’ll find our compass and the days will be easily on our souls.

Elsa: I hope so, I have no one to pick on although I gave Norman’s moose a good chew three times this week. Guess that’s progress, isn’t it? And I even pulled out a different toy. I barked at him real good. Funny thing though, he just laid there with a dumb look on his face. Are all chickens that dumb?

The Mom: Now, now, chickens aren’t dumb, they just have different expressions…especially if they’re being barked at. Maybe next time, just a game of toss and chew might be better.

Elsa: Harumph…not sure what the point is then. Anywho…let’s start. I heard a lot of people enjoyed the photos from Hawaii but know you weren’t planning to post anymore, but come on, Mom…I mean, aren’t you supposed to give the people what they want? Isn’t that what Marketing 101 is all about?

The Mom: Well since you’re driving this train, I guess a few more pics won’t be the worst thing we’ve ever shared.

Elsa: You got that right! I was going through some of your early stuff the other day…wow, there were some real stinkers from the past. Angel Sam was a complete Knucklehead, wasn’t he?

The Mom: Sweetie, remember how we talked about this. You  need to learn to filter your thoughts better. And remember our motto is “always be kind.”

Elsa: Oh yeah, I forgot. I’ll try to do better, Mom, really I will.

The Mom: I know you will, sweetie. You’ve been through a lot in your life and without the proper upbringing, you didn’t have a great puppyhood. So while you’re internalizing our motto, what shall we share this week?

Hawaiian Surf
Sea Wall-Kahalu’u Beach

Elsa:  Ooh, ooh, you’re right. Let’s get to the picture show! And I promise Mom, I’ll do better about living our motto. I’m already different and don’t lose my mind as much when we’re walking when we come across a dog and before, I’d go all ninja on them and give them the ole ‘what for! Ok then, here’s the first pic. The sunsets must have been pretty spectacular in Hawaii since you took a jillion of them.

Hawaiian sunset

The Mom: Yes, the sunsets are pretty spectacular. I really liked this one because of the starburst beams of the light through the clouds.

Elsa: You sure those aren’t laser beams? I think they’re laser beams, Mom.

The Mom:  Trust me, I’m sure, Ninja. It’s just the way the light came through the clouds. Pretty cool, huh?

Elsa: I dunno, Mom. I still think those may be laser beams. Anyway, I know you saw more than just sunsets. You walked on one of the earliest highways built in Hawaii on one of your morning walks, even before it became a state. It’s right in the middle of a lava field. That ledge along the sides was pretty ingenious keeping wagons, horses and sleepy workers from falling off onto the razor sharp lava field. I still can’t get over how grass and other plants just sprout in of the middle of lava fields {head shaking}.

Hawaiian highway Hawaiian highway

The Mom: That was very clever. I guess when you live on an island that is constantly expanding the landscape through volcanic eruptions, you get pretty creative with what you have to make it work for you. I was constantly in awe of all the lava walls and walkways. Everything fits together like a bizarre puzzle. Now that’s some craftsmanship.

Lava wall

Elsa: Whoa…not sure I’d like a wall/fence like that. I mean, how could I chase the dog next door along the fence if I couldn’t even see that rascal.

The Mom: That’s the point. I know I’d welcome it. Nobody likes to hear dogs fence biting and snarling. You can barely see that dog between the slates and yet you two sound like Godzilla and Mothra fighting.

Elsa: Well, she starts it! I just kind of forget our motto and get pulled into the fray.

The Mom: {eyes rolling} You’ve got to do better, Elsa. You don’t have to follow. Be a leader like Norman was. He may have run along the fence but he never barked.

Elsa: Good point, Mom. I’ll definitely take that into consideration. He was a good role model and I’d be doing you a solid imitating him.

The Mom: I’m sure everyone would be happier if there wasn’t that racket along the wood fence. Come to think of it, it’s too bad I can’t install a lava wall.

Elsa: {gasp} No need to go overboard with the crazy, Mom. Speaking of crazy, what are these weird trees?

Tahitian Screwpine

The Mom: Oh those are called Tahitian Screwpine. Aren’t they interesting?

Elsa: Oh man, Norman would have had a field day peeing on those things!

The Mom: {ahem, moving along}. Wouldn’t you rather focus on info on some of the various volcanoes? While I didn’t have enough time to actually climb up them in person on this trip, this exhibit did a great job of describing them with excellent background info and excellent display models. Much better than any photos I could have taken.

Hawaii volcanoes
Mauna Kea


Hawaii volcano
Hawaii Volcano

Hawaii Volcano

Hawaii Volcano
 Mauna Loa

Elsa: Wow, who knew these volcanoes were so old?! I know you saw a lot even in the short time you were there. And some fascinating critters that we don’t normally see in Colorado. Say, didn’t you post a pic of a manta ray to Instagram that you saw one night?

The Mom: You’re right, Elsa. Lots of very fascinating and wonderfully interesting critters on the Big Island. And some we are familiar with, like Queen, a loveable bulldog who was as sweet as sugar. She belongs to Christian’s Mom (the groom) and goes to work with her at the venue where the wedding was held. That was some house with gorgeous grounds.


Elsa: Why does she always look angry if she’s such a sweetheart?

The Mom: That’s a classic bulldog face, little one. Trust me, she was one of the nicest dogs I’ve ever met and she loved all the wedding visitors.

Elsa: So what’s the deal with these Nēnē birds? They look a lot like the Canadian geese we have here in Denver.

The Mom: The Nēnē is Hawaii’s state bird and are nearly extinct. They are similar to the Canadian geese yet not nearly as plentiful. A lot of the feral animals of Hawaii have decimated the population and loss of habitat has also contributed to loss of flocks. There’s an ongoing project by the Parks Department to reintroduce them on several of the islands. They are pretty shy and avoided any kind of close contact whenever I encountered them. They can boogie like crazy away from us humans.


Image courtesy of National Park Service

Elsa: Hmm, seems like they stay ‘within the parking lines’ for the most part. Maybe that’s their problem. At least they aren’t aggressive like our Canadian geese. So weird, Canadians are the nicely people around but their geese…definitely NOT.

The Mom: El-sa!

Elsa: I know…sorry. {changing the subject} Now where’s that manta pic?

The Mom: Oh yeah, I forgot. We met up with some former colleagues of my son, Kevin at one of their fancy hotel properties that has a cove where the mantas come out after sunset. They are so amazing to watch as they effortlessly float around, splash and flip over in the water. I was mesmerized with their agile flexibility in the water as well as their size. This guy was about 4 ft. across.


Elsa: {head cocking} Holy cow, I’d probably run along the rocks trying to catch their attention. But next time you might wanna use a better camera than the cell phone. Just saying.

The Mom: I know, but on such a short trip, I just didn’t feel like schlepping a camera bag, besides seeing these manta rays was totally unscripted. I did capture some Zebra doves when we went out for lunch on the last full day in Hawaii. They seemed to not be very afraid, or maybe they knew I’d be a sucker and feed them bread crumbs. Birds tend to be more brave when food is involved.

Hawaiian Doves

Elsa: You’ve got a soft heart, Mom. No wonder I love you so much. Well, looks like we’re about finished with the shareable Hawaiian pics. Got anything else that tickles your fancy?

The Mom: Well, I must admit I was truly blown away by  orchids that attach themselves to trees. This one in particular was mind blowing. That ‘rope’ of flowers must have been over 4 feet long. I couldn’t capture the whole thing in a single frame, it was so long.


Elsa: Wow, that is something. Bet you tried to jump rope, didn’t you?

The Mom: Certainly not. (a) I’m too old for jump roping and (b) I’d have probably killed myself getting tangled up in it if I’d tried, ruining that amazing orchid.

Elsa: Yeah, but I’ll still bet you thought about it. It’s okay, Mom, it’s good to live on the edge. So what’s the game plan for the weekend? Any exciting plans?

The Mom: Well as you know, I’m not all that exciting, but I will spend tomorrow assisting a good friend by helping her pack up her art studio.

Elsa: Well that’s nice of you. I’d like to come and meet her sheepdogs but know this is not the right time but hope we can do a meet and greet soon. I need a sheepdog fix.

The Mom: Me too, little one, me too. We hope everyone has a good weekend and gets outside to enjoy some of Nature’s beauty wherever they’re at and hopeful there will be no more firecrackers and no more heavy thunderstorms, gully-washer rain and hail.

Elsa: That makes two of us, Mom. Thanks again for sticking with us on this long post but especially for all your messages of comfort. It has been very consoling to our souls. Now that Norman’s come home, we’ve been reading him all your notes and messages. No doubt he’s wiggling his bum silly in heaven knowing how much you all care about him.

Angel Norman

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday

56 thoughts on “Nature Friday ~ July 7, 2023

    1. Thank you. It’s good he’s home even if waking up to him is a constantly reminder that he’s really no longer here. 🥲

  1. Thank you Elsa for a great post. I really Like the photograph mom took of the sun and the rays were very much like a St. Andrew’s Cross -or perhaps that’s my Scottish view o:) Glad Norman is “Home” with you and mom. I think he would be (and probably is) very proud of you.

    1. Thanks for your kind comment. Those rays were clearly luck. I doubt I could recapture a another one like it. 🙂 Having Norman back home is strangely comforting but it does remind me it’s all too real. We miss him something fierce. Elsa is still discombobulated at his absence. Hope Annbell is doing better at home. We’re thinking of you all and sending positive energy.

  2. What a beeuteefull Ash Box with Sweet Norman innside an his paw print…
    May Norman’ss spirit with youss’ fur ever Miss Monika an Elsa.
    What an amazin gallery of fotoss! So many lovelee placess to see. Queen iss a cute Poochie!
    An THE Nene DUE look alot like our Geese! An THE dovess look alot like our Mournin Dovess here.
    Wishin both of youss’ a furry guud week.
    ~~~head rubss~~~BellaDharma~~~ an {{huggiess}} BellaSita Mum

    1. Thank you BellaDharma and BellaSita. I can’t help but smile whenever I see Norman’s box, knowing he’s home now. Over the weekend,a dear friend gifted me a bone shaped necklace that you can add ashes to it. I chose instead to include some of Norman’s hair and now have a physical piece of him next to my heart all the time. 💙

  3. Beautiful photos. You are doing a good job solo hosting. Norman’s memorial box is very nice. XO

    1. Thank you! She’s trying but it’s not as much fun without her big brother. Have a lovely weekend.

  4. Ahhh, what beauty in all of those nature pictures!

    That sunset is spectacular! You said it was a misy=take?? Nope, for me that was justt being in the right place at the right time!

    Oh, Norman…your Box made me get a big lump…
    Hugs to your Mom and Elsa, we’re sure your lump is way bigger…

    Hugs and love to you both.

    1. Thank you, Ingrid. You’re too kind. Shooting flares is always a gamble. Usually they don’t come out but I got lucky there. Thanks also for the hugs and love-we gratefully accept both these days.

  5. That photo of the sunset is absolutely spectacular, not only because of the sunset itself, but also because of its photographic technique. PER.FECT!

    1. You’re too kind. Thank you. It was simply a mistake on my part. 😁

  6. Spectacular photographs, thank you for sharing …
    We’ll always have a special place in heart and soul for Norman, the good boy.

    1. Many thanks for the kind comment and especially the one about our beloved Norman.

  7. Oh Monika, my heart hurts for you and Elsa. The pain of loss does ease a bit but it ebbs and flows like the tides. After more than a year since Ducky, I still break down at times; but I also smile through the tears when I see some of the FB memories. It just takes time and you have to let it take its own course.

    I love all the photos from Hawaii! The rainbow is stunning; but my favorite is the sunset with the “laser beams” (that’s for you Elsa).

    1. Thanks, Sue. I don’t think we ever recover from these losses, we merely learn to live with them as best as we can.

      As I was going through the photos, that sunbeam one just made me stop and reflect. No doubt Norman earning his wings made it even more poignant. Every day I am incredibly grateful he waited for me to come home before he said goodbye. I’m not sure what I would have done had he left sooner. His final gift of love and devotion. 😭

  8. The sunset pic and the rainbow one were my favorites! So beautiful!
    You and Elsa did a great job with the post. Norman would be proud! I know he is smiling down on you and don’t worry, Elsa will learn her manners. 🙂
    Norman’s box is a work of art. No words … just more hugs for you and Elsa. <3 <3 <3

    1. Thank you for such a sweet comment. That sunset pic was one of my favorites. I only wish I could take credit for the rainbow shot. Those park’s department folks are amazing. 💙🌈💙

      1. Most welcome!!
        Sounds like you learned alot with the help of the park’s department folks.
        Hope you have a rainbow of love shine down on you and Elsa in a special way today! ❤💚💛🧡💜

        1. You’re too sweet, Carolyn-thank you! Those Parks people have such a wealth of info to piggyback on their passion for the earth.

    1. It had the same effect on me when I opened the bag it was in. They did such a nice job, very lovely but…poignantly painful.

  9. Most importantly – “welcome home Norman”……you know we all feel like we lost that boy because he was a part of our blog family…..I’m glad he’s back where he belongs. Your Mom is an AMAZING photographer – such gorgeous and perfectly framed photos – Hawaii is beautiful and has a “uniqueness” that is incredible. Plants, pups (Queen), sunsets and sunrises – it’s all incredible. Thanks to her for sharing the trip with us via photos.

    Love, Teddy and Pam

    1. Thanks Teddy and Pam. We’re very glad he’s home though it has underscored the reality that’s he’s an angel now. 😢

  10. What a post Monika! There is so much here and all of it so damned good.

    Your eloquence and passions and your spirit resides in every paragraph, every snapshot, every loose thought.

    You ladies are doing great. Norman’s wagging his tail to the affirmative up there.

    1. Thanks Marc. We sure miss his gentle presence on these posts. Poor Elsa is struggling and it’s all I can do to keep from joining her. We hope you have a great weekend.

  11. A lovely post, Elsa and Monika. Thank you so much for the excellent photos of your trip. Lucy is home as well and there is something comforting about having them close. Yes, the loss reminders are strong but is still a good thing. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks, John. It’s weird but comforting to have them back. We totally understand that. Have a good weekend.

  12. We can see the manta rays down below the water surface, Elsa. Do you see them? Queen looks like a sweetheart. We bet she’d be our friend. And Mom loved the sunset with the four rays coming out of the clouds! We’re glad you and your Mom have each other, too, to help get through this hard time. We know you help each other.
    Hey Angel Norman, we still love you!! XOX Xena, Lucy, Chia and Riley

    1. Thanks Xena, Lucy, Chia and Riley. Appreciate your kind thoughts. Have a good weekend.

    1. It’s a long way from anywhere, but yeah, I get that. With airline seats getting smaller and more uncomfortable than ever and the general challenges associated with flying, not to mention the expense, it’s not likely I’ll be back any time soon. Sigh.

      1. I know. All of that keeps us from flying places these days. So many delays and cancellations too, and in our late 60’s, it all just seems too hard!

    1. Thanks, Kate. I hope we haven’t overdone the Hawaii pics. It’s just such a pretty place, I can’t help myself.

  13. Nicely done, the two of you. Gorgeous images!
    And awww… that is so beautiful that Norman has come home.
    Hugs and good wishes for the weekend.

    1. Many thanks. We’re glad Norman is home, though it’s sad but we’re grateful he’s with his family.

    1. You’re so kind, Sandee. Thank you. Finding our voices has been interesting without Norman. I hadn’t expected to post any more pics from Hawaii but so many people seemed to want to see them, so I acquiesced even though it’s been a month since I was there. Sigh. Thanks again for your kindness and very appreciated memorial for Norman. I look at it every day and smile through the tears. 💙

  14. That rainbow is beautiful, as are all of the hawaiian pics! Glad Elsa talked you into posting more! Normans box is perfect.

    1. Thank you. Hawaii is such an amazing place with sites not found elsewhere in the US. I was fortunate to be able to go and share with Blogville. Have a lovely weekend.

  15. Good job, Elsa. Good job, mom. So happy to see your post and all the great photos, especially the rainbow. Hugs and pawkisses to you two. ❤️🐾

      1. You’re right, Paulette. I know so many people have lost their fur-babies and we’re not the only ones hurting. It’s a club none of us want to be a member. Sending gentle thoughts your way for the loss of Max.

    1. That rainbow was quite the pic wasn’t it. It’s not mine but was a perfect image to showcase the Nēnē beautifully beyond my crummy parking lot pic. 😉

  16. GladNorman is home.
    Elsa is doing so well, isn’t she?
    I loved the photograph of the Nene with the rainbow…let’s hope they have a rainbow future.

    1. She seems to be improving with the good days outnumbering the so-so days. I’m working hard to get her confidence built up with new adventures to take her mind off the emptiness of a larger than life Norman. So very grateful he’s home now, though it still reminds me of our loss.

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